- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Australian clean energy: at a crossroads

Reblogged from the Australian Greens

We are at a crossroads. We have the tools we need to cut the pollution that drives global warming and build a clean energy economy. But will we make the choice to do so?

The impacts of global warming are already being felt, and tipping points that scientists fear are getting ever closer, making our task more urgent than ever. But cashed-up polluters and their lobby groups continue to fight every measure to strengthen clean energy in Australia.

We're really proud to have built the foundations this year with the Clean Energy Act that the Greens negotiated: making polluters pay to pollute and using funds to invest in building and improving clean energy technologies, helping care for people by lifting the tax free threshold and building more efficient homes, and helping farmers create healthy landscapes that store more carbon and can deal with the bad times.

Now, we need to remove the obstacles that remain across Australia to moving to a 100% renewable energy economy, as quickly as possible. We have to stop the rush for coal, gas and uranium that threatens to undo all the great work that Australians have done. We have to turn away from the road that leads to climate catastrophe and choose the path that leads to a cleaner, happier, healthier world.

Find out the latest about Australian clean energy, what's holding it back and how to help build it across the country, right here.

Skip to:

Globe still warming: the latest research.

Building clean energy in Australia and around the world.

What's next? Moving to 100% renewable energy.

Don't turn back now: the coal, gas and uranium rush threatens it all.

Time to stop subsidising the rush: ending unfair handouts.

Globe: Still Warming

Globe: still warming
The latest research makes it clear that the world is still warming at a faster rate than ever.
Is Australia ready for a warmer world? Christine Milne has just secured a Senate Inquiry into Australia's preparedness for a warming climate, when it comes to insurance affordability, emergency services, planning and more. You can write to the Inquiry here.

With more and more evidence of faster In this context, cutting the pollution that drives global warming is more important than ever.

Building clean energy in Australia and around the world

Building clean energy in Australia and around the world

Thanks to the Greens, the Clean Energy Act is cutting pollution and building the clean energy economy across Australia. The Clean Energy Act that we negotiated represents a major step along the path to a clean energy economy in Australia.

Australia's biggest ever public renewable energy investment, grants for our technology innovators, and practical assistance to help communities and businesses save energy represent an historic push for Australian clean energy.

Millions of Australians are moving. We're leading the world in household solar panel installations, and mobilising in unprecedented ways to support big renewable energy projects. Check out the Walkers for Solar, who walked the 328km from Port Augusta to Adelaide to build support to repower Port Augusta with solar thermal technology. This movement means that we may never need new polluting power stations again.

The world is quickly building a clean energy economy to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Germany has overhauled its energy system, resulting in massive expansions of solar, wind and other renewable energies, owned and managed by more people and communities than ever before. China is about to start charging major polluters for their pollution in provinces where 250 million people live. Scotland will generate 100% of their energy consumption with clean sources by 2020, and Denmark just hit their massive 2020 solar target eight years early.

Despite all this progress, we know that there's much more to do. Building a clean energy economy and cutting the pollution that drives global warming are complex! The solutions exist now - so it's time to build them faster. What comes next?

Wind Farm at Sunset

What's next?

Here's the latest on the Australian clean energy economy - and how you can help us build it.
Fair Pay for Clean Power. In the ACT, we have secured a Renewable Energy Guarantee to pay people fairly for the clean power they generate with solar systems. We have worked for a national feed-in tariff scheme to provide fair pay for clean power for years - find out more, and watch Christine's speech when the Senate last reported on this issue.

Making Clean Power Work. Christine has advocated for years for an energy system that makes power cheaper and cleaner. Read her interview with Ben Eltham on the next steps for Australia's energy grid, and her response to the Inquiry she helped set up on power prices and grid reform in Australia.

Building Clean Power. The Renewable Energy Target is a proven success, and has already generated $18.5 billion in clean energy construction since it started. We know it works - so extending it is a popular option. It's under review right now, and we'll find out next month what the Climate Change Authority wants the government to do to improve it. The time to submit views to the review has ended, but we said this and you can find out more about the review here.

Planning Clean Power. States like Victoria are rushing to open up new coal mines, but have made it incredibly difficult to build new clean energy infrastructure like wind farms. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell have slashed support for solar energy, but still back coal seam gas fracking to the hilt. You can write to the Premiers through the 100% Renewable campaign to get them to stop standing in the way of clean energy.

Can't eat coal

Don't turn back now: the coal, gas and uranium rush

Federal and state governments are planning to more than triple Australia's coal exports, open new uranium mines and ports, and explore for coal seam gas in vital water catchments. This deregulated rush for coal, gas and uranium threatens Australia's clean energy economy, our food and water supplies and the land our farmers rely on. Local communities have grave concerns for their health from the impacts of fracking, coal mining and transport, and dredging harbours for shipping.

Hunter communities are standing up for their health. There has never been a comprehensive healthy study of the cumulative health impacts of cola in the Hunter, even though we know that there are increased risks of cancer, heart and lung disease in mining regions. Now, big coal companies want to expand coal activity throughout the region and open up a new export terminal at Newcastle. Join Lee Rhiannon's campaign with Hunter communities for a health inquiry in the Hunter.

Gladstone dredging threatens livelihoods. Gladstone fishers and tourism operators have been devastated by dredging to expand the harbour for coal and gas exports. The dredging has caused a toxic plume that has left fish and other marine life dead and diseased. It's time for Minister Tony Burke to intervene in the World Heritage listed area. Find out more, and join the Gladstone Conservation Council on Facebook to help their local campaign.

Larissa joins locals protesting CSG in Kerry, QLD

Farmers and landholders are standing up to coal seam gas. The coal seam gas industry has rushed across rich farmland in Queensland and New South Wales, but we still don't know what it will do to our water supply, our prime agricultural land or our health. Evidence is emerging that it is not a cleaner fuel than coal, and will drive significant global warming. That's why Larissa Waters has introduced a Bill to give a landholder the right to refuse CSG exploration on their land, proposed changes to national environmental laws to protect our water, and called for a moratorium on further coal seam gas expansion until we understand all the impacts. Labor and Coalition alike want to continue the rush: Stop CSG Illawarra has just revealed that Apex's application to drill in Sydney's water catchment area has been approved, for example.

What will rushing into massive coal and gas exports mean for the climate? Find out from Bill McKibben's landmark piece on fossil fuels, and academics writing on Australian coal exports and the danger of opening up the Galilee Basin to burn coal overseas: more pollution from Galilee coal than all of Australia's emissions combined.

Aerial view of Hardy Reef

What will the rush mean for the Reef? We've already lost more than half of the Great Barrier Reef to environmental pressures. Now, there are plans to more than triple shipping coal, gas and uranium through the Reef, posing a grave risk to the Reef from spills and accidents, and guaranteeing its eventual destruction from global warming. Join our Reef campaign to help us build the will to save it.

What about Australian places and wildlife that are too precious to lose? James Price Point in the Kimberley, the last koala habitat on the Liverpool PlainsKangaroo Island's community and Kakadu National Park are all directly threatened by new coal, oil, gas and uranium prospects. These places are too precious to lose for the sake of a short-term profit.

Christine and 350.org campaigners want to end fossil fuel subsidies

Time to stop subsidising the rush. The big miners receive billions of dollars of unfair subsidies, for everything from tax breaks on their fuel bill to inaccurate accounting that lets them off the hook for paying for the pollution they cause. These often reward wasteful burning of fossil fuels, undoing the good work done by millions of Australians to cut pollution.

We delivered two cuts to fossil fuel subsidies in our negotiations for the Clean Energy Act, but there's more to do.

Fuel tax breaks for big miners. Everyday Australians pay 38c a litre in tax, while mining giants making billions of dollars in profits pay only 6c a litre in tax for the huge quantities of diesel they use. That's simply not fair. We've found that ending this tax break would raise $5.1 billion to invest in vital things like better schools, publicly-funded dental care, and lifting Newstart to help people get back into the workforce. We continue to push for the end to this wasteful handout.

Handing cash to coal generators. We joined community and environment groups to move against the Government's plans to hand more than $4 billion to coal companies. You can join the Victorian Greens campaign to use the HRL coal plant handout for clean energy instead.

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